Veteran pitching coach Jason Dietrich was added to the Cal State
Fullerton baseball coaching staff on July 7, 2012.
We are very excited to have Jason join our staff,” said
Head Coach Rick Vanderhook at the time of the hire. “He is a
local product who grew up a fan of Titan Baseball and also earned
his bachelor’s degree here at Cal State Fullerton.
Dietrich replaced departed Kirk Saarloos, who took a similar
position at TCU on June 20 after two seasons with the Titans.
In his first year, Dietrich managed arguably the best pitching
staff in the Big West Conference, if not the nation. The 2013 Cal
State Fullerton baseball team finished the campaign with a 51-10
record, falling in the Super Regionals to eventual College World
Series champion UCLA.
A major part of the Titans’ impressive season was
Fullerton’s effort on the mound as Dietrich, in his
first year at Fullerton, coached a pair of freshmen All-Americans,
Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza, in the starting rotation.
Dietrch’s staff set a multitude of new single-season records
at Fullerton including earned run average (2.47), fewest walks
(86), walks per 9.0 innings pitched (1.41), hits per nine innings
pitched (7.59) and shutouts (11).
Fullerton finished the year with a 2.47 ERA which led the Big West
Conference and ranked fourth in the nation. In addition, the Titan
pitching staff led the country in walks allowed per 9.0 innings
(1.41), strikeout-to-walk-ratio (4.94) and WHIP (1.0).
Dietrich and the Cal State Fullerton accomplished all this with a
pair of rookies on the mound.
Eshelman was named the Big West, Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA
Freshman Pitcher of the Year, respectively, while Garza was named
the 2013 Big West Pitcher of the Year.
With Eshelman, Garza and sophomore Grahamm Wiest (9-3, 3.27) in
the starting rotation, Fullerton’s bullpen totaled a 15-3
record and 27 saves, managing a 2.56 ERA and 172 and 1/3 innings on
A major part of bullpen was two-way player Michael Lorenzen, who
completed his second year on the mound.
An All-American, Lorenzen finished the 2013 campaign 19-for-22
in save attempts (tied for fifth in the country), but in three
blown save opportunities, kept the Titans within reach to record
the win (3-0).
Dietrich, 40, came to Fullerton after spending five seasons
(2008-12) in the UC Irvine program, the last two serving as Head
Coach Mike Gillespie’s pitching coach. Over those two seasons
the Anteaters posted a combined ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP (walks and
hits per innings pitched) of 1.18.
In 2012, Dietrich’s staff set a Big West Conference record
for fewest hits allowed (422) in a season, ranking them sixth in
the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings. He also helped
script Irvine’s fifth no-hitter in school history on Apr. 20,
2012, when right-hander Andrew Thurman blanked the Long Beach State
49ers at Blair Field. Dietrich also helped the all-conference
first-teamer Thurman to an additional pair of one-hitters against
Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Bakersfield.
Under his guidance in 2011, the Anteaters posted their lowest
ERA (2.95) in nearly 40 years led by the Big West Pitcher of the
Year Matt Summers (11-4, 2.15 ERA, 100 K), who finished conference
play with an unblemished 8-0 record and wound up being an
All-American and a fourth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins.
Dietrich was also part of a Summers no-hitter against Long Beach
State on May 28, 2011, in Irvine.
The Anteaters finished the 2011 season just one win away from
their second College World Series appearance with a Super Regional
series loss to No. 1 national seed Virginia.
Dietrich spent his first three seasons with Irvine as its
director of baseball operations.
Before joining the Anteaters in 2008, he was the recruiting
coordinator and pitching coach for then-Head Coach Pat
Shine’s Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles, who won a West
Regional championship and finished third at the Div. II College
World Series in 2007. Four of his hurlers received all-conference
recognition that year.
A season later, Dietrich moved to Irvine with Shine in the late
fall of 2007 to join Gillespie’s new Anteater staff.
In the junior college ranks, Diectrich spent four seasons
(2003-2006) as the pitching coach at Irvine Valley College where he
helped the Lasers to a 2005 Super Regional appearance. He also
served in the same capacity at Los Angeles City College, where he
assisted the Cubs to a 2002 South Coast Conference
Dietrich’s other coaching experience includes two summer
seasons in the prestigious Cape Cod League with the Hyannis Mets in
2004 and 2005, and a season (2003) with the Southern California
Fire in the Western Wood Bat Collegiate Summer League. He got his
start in 1999 as the varsity pitching coach at Arcadia High School.
The Apaches won two Pacific League titles (2000 and 2001) in his
three seasons there.
As a player, Dietrich spent three seasons (1991-93) with Rancho
Santiago College (now Santa Ana College) before transferring to
Pepperdine for a season in 1994.
He was a redshirt for former Titan Don Sneddon’s Dons his
freshman year as he recovered from “Tommy John”
surgery. He saw limited action in his first competitive season back
due to a shoulder injury, but had an outstanding sophomore year in
1993. That season he went 6-1 with a 2.69 earned run average with
99 strikeouts en route to all-conference and all-state honors. He
was also the winning pitcher in the Dons’ 5-3 win over
Sacramento City College in the 1993 state championship game.
After three straight junior college conference championships he
declined an offer from the New York Yankees as a 23rd-round pick to
move to Malibu.
The right-hander was an All-West Coast Conference honoree under
then-Wave Head Coach Andy Lopez and is still in the Pepperdine
single-season record book for the second lowest batting average
against (.186) and most strikeouts per nine innings (10.77). His
1.66 ERA that year led the WCC and he was eventually a 19th-round
pick and signee of the Colorado Rockies.
Dietrich’s professional career lasted five seasons, four
in the Rockies’ minor league system and one in the
independent Northeast League. He was a combined 7-2 with a 2.39 ERA
in four seasons with the Portland Rockies, Asheville Tourists and
the Salem Avalanche and 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA with the independent
New Jersey Jackals in 1998.
Dietrich owns a master’s degree in physical education from
Azusa Pacific University (2001) and a bachelor’s degree from
Cal State Fullerton (1999) in criminal justice. He prepped at Mater
Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif.
DIETRICH’S TITAN CONNECTIONS:
• Dietrich was coached by former Titan All-American player
and Augie Garrido assistant coach Don Sneddon at Rancho Santiago
College from 1991-93.
• Dietrich was teammates with future Titan first baseman
Jim Betzold and future Titan infielder and coach Jason Gill at
Mater Dei High School.
• Dietrich was on the same pitching staff with former Titan
and former major league pitcher Matt Wise at Pepperdine in
• Dietrich played with former Titan national champion D.C.
Olsen in his final season of professional baseball with the
Northeast League champion New Jersey Jackals in 1998.
• Dietrich was the pitching coach for former Titan
All-American and 2008 Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year Jeff
Kaplan when he was pitching at Irvine Valley College in 2004 and
• Dietrich coached along side former Titan All-American
pitcher Mike Parisi at Arcadia High School in 2000 and 2001.